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Intelligent leaching rare earth elements from waste fluorescent lamps

The date of: 2023-12-28
viewed: 0
souce:PNAS


Significance
Rare earth elements (REEs) are one of the critical global strategic resources. The sharply increasing demand for REEs leads to their overexploitation and environmental pollution. Recycling REEs from their second resources can achieve resource utilization and waste treatment. Pyrometallurgy pretreatment combined with acid leaching is efficient for recycling REEs. Unfortunately, due to the uncontrollable components of wastes, many trials were required to obtain the optimal parameters, leading to a high cost of recovery and new environmental risks. This study applied machine learning to guide REEs leaching from waste fluorescent lamps, only needing the measurement of particle size and composition of the waste feed, avoiding many optimization experiments. This study contributed to the intelligent recycling strategic REEs resources.
Abstract
Rare earth elements (REEs), one of the global key strategic resources, are widely applied in electronic information and national defense, etc. The sharply increasing demand for REEs leads to their overexploitation and environmental pollution. Recycling REEs from their second resources such as waste fluorescent lamps (WFLs) is a win–win strategy for REEs resource utilization and environmental production. Pyrometallurgy pretreatment combined with acid leaching is proven as an efficient approach to recycling REEs from WFLs. Unfortunately, due to the uncontrollable components of wastes, many trials were required to obtain the optimal parameters, leading to a high cost of recovery and new environmental risks. This study applied machine learning (ML) to build models for assisting the leaching of six REEs (Tb, Y, Eu, La, and Gd) from WFLs, only needing the measurement of particle size and composition of the waste feed. The feature importance analysis of 40 input features demonstrated that the particle size, Mg, Al, Fe, Sr, Ca, Ba, and Sb content in the waste feed, the pyrometallurgical and leaching parameters have important effects on REEs leaching. Furthermore, their influence rules on different REEs leaching were revealed. Finally, some verification experiments were also conducted to demonstrate the reliability and practicality of the model. This study can quickly get the optimal parameters and leaching efficiency for REEs without extensive optimization experiments, which significantly reduces the recovery cost and environmental risks. Our work carves a path for the intelligent recycling of strategic REEs from waste.



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